|DEATHDREAM (DEAD OF NIGHT) (THE VETERAN) (director: Bob Clark; screenwriter: Alan Ormsby; cinematographer: Jack McGowan; editor: Ronald Sincair; music: Carl Zittier; cast: Richard Backus (Andy Brooks), John Marley (Charles Brooks), Lynn Carlin (Christine Brooks), Anya Ormsby (Cathy Brooks), Henderson Forsythe (Doc Phillip Allman), Jane Daly (Joanne), Arthur Anderson (Postman), (George, Army Captain), Michael Mazes (Bob), David Gawlikowski (Trucker, Howie); Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: PG; producers: Bob Clark/Peter James/John Trent; Blue Underground; 1972-Canada/UK)|
of the first and best films to confront the
ill-effects the Vietnam War had on the home
by Dennis Schwartz
Bob Clark ("Children Shouldn't Play With
Dead Things"/"Murder by Decree"/"Black Christmas")
does a good job directing this eerie zombie chiller,
that has an excellent script by Alan Ormsby.
chronicles the story of a Vietnam War private, Andy
Brooks (Richard Backus), who was
reported killed at war but turns up the
next night at his family house in the suburban
small-town of Brooksville as a zombie seeking
retribution from those who sent him to war. The
chillingly quiet Andy rejects all those offering him
love and brutally kills a trucker (David Gawlikowski),
whom he hitched a ride home with, and then his
friendly family doctor (Henderson
Forsythe), who suspects he was the killer.
The zombie needs fresh meat to survive, and views
those around him as prey. When Andy's guilt-stricken
father (John Marley) fails to
turn in his son even when knowing he's not mentally
there and that he killed their family doctor and
strangled their beloved pet dog, the crushed dad will
commit suicide for that lapse in judgment in failing
to prevent the subsequent drive-in murder of his
daughter's (Anya Ormsby)
boyfriend Bob (Michael Mazes) and his
son's old flame Joanne (Jane Daly).
the first and best films to confront the ill-effects
the Vietnam War had on the home front. Also, this was
the initial Hollywood makeup gig for former Vietnam
vet Tom Savini, who went on to become a legend in his
field for his horror pic makeup effects. Deathdream is
still in favor as a deservedly well-received gory cult
film, that keeps a zombie flick as real as possible.
The acting honors go to Marley for a formidable
performance as the crushed father who can't understand
what happened to his son, and how both he and his wife
failed in their responsibilities to raise a son.
REVIEWED ON 7/9/2014 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ